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Your Google search is killing Earth

January 12th, 2009 at 8:21 AM

Debate global warming all you want, but no one can argue that CO2 is an extremely toxic pollutant which is very bad for our health. When we think of how CO2 gets into our atmosphere we tend to think of millions of cars whipping down highways or of factories whose smoke stacks spew black, acrid smoke while producing consumer goods. But have you ever thought of Google? Harvard University Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross has calculated that a simple Google search emits 7g of CO2, about half of what is given off when boiling a pot of tea. While 7g of CO2 isn’t an awful lot in the grand scheme of things, considering that Google handles over 200-million searches per day you can forgive us for double checking our calculators when we calculated this out to be 1,400,000kg of CO2 per day or well over 511,000,000kg in a year. Google denies the aforementioned figures and said on its official blog that the actual CO2 emissions per search are more like 0.2g, but that stat is difficult to accept considering how many servers are involved with a single search (you know, that and the fact that Wissner-Gross has a Bachelors in Physics, Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from MIT along with a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard). Numbers aside, emissions aren’t a good thing and Google obviously recognizes this having co-founded Climate Savers Computing, a group comprised of the who’s-who of the tech world with the goal of halving its CO2 emissions by 2010; a noble effort indeed.


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